A Liverpool man who has dedicated almost four decades’ service to his local community has been recognised with a national honour. Kwong Ngan, known as Kenny Tam, has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to community.
The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January this year to honour the incredible accomplishments of individuals in society who positively impact their communities. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.
In 1978, Mr Ngan became a member of the See Yep Association – a voluntary organisation bringing together Liverpool’s Chinese Community, which is the oldest of its kind in Europe. At the age of 46, he became the association’s youngest chairman and now, after two decades, is its longest standing chairman since it was founded in 1906.
He transformed the Association’s building into a vibrant community centre, providing a safe and warm environment for the Chinese community and in particular, somewhere the much-revered ‘elders’ can socialise and pass on traditions and values to the next generations. During his term as vice chairman more than 20 years ago, he opened its doors to women for the first time in the history of the See Yep, which has resulted in a confident and empowered Ladies’ Group.
Mr Ngan, aged 66, offers guidance on social, welfare, business and cultural matters, liaises with authorities to create a more harmonious and integrated society. He arranges traditional Chinese funerals for members and their families and is held in the highest esteem by organisations and dignitaries locally nationally and internationally.
Thirty two years ago, he introduced Liverpool to the ancient art of Tai Chi by forming the non-profit Merseyside School of Tai Chi – the first of its kind in the area – which he ran after work for up to six hours a week. The venture inspired many other schools and now Merseyside has a number of Tai Chi venues, run mostly by his students, past and present.
Mr Ngan has not let serious illness prevent his community work. After suffering a life-threatening subdural hematoma five years ago, he was soon back teaching Tai Chi within an incredible six weeks, thanks largely to his positive mental attitude.
He has held charitable Tai Chi events to raise money for various charities including the Liverpool New Born Baby Appeal, Liverpool Cardiothoracic, Children in Need, the Linda McCartney Centre and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
On hearing of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China, Mr Ngan raised awareness by pinning up around 200 photos on the walls and stairwells of the See Yep on a daily basis for two weeks to show the scale of the disaster. His compelling persistence paid off, with £26,000 being donated to his earthquake fund.
With almost 40 years of dedicated service to his community and the North West, he has channeled his many talents and boundless energy into improving community services and quality of life for his fellow citizens. He truly stands out as a leader who is always there for those around him, eager to take up new challenges to enhance the well-being of the community.
Mr Ngan is one of 30 medalists who was be honoured at a prestigious ceremony on July 9, at the Palace of Westminster. All BCA recipients have positively impacted society undertaking various activities in support of a number of causes. Each received a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medalists were also invited to use the initials BCA after their name.
Speaking about his nomination, Mr Ngan said: “It was a great honour and a big surprise to be nominated for the award for my community work.
“I have been very lucky because I have had some wonderful Tai Chi students and other people who have shared in my beliefs and have helped me in my charity and community work. This award if for them, for the Chinese community and for all of the people in Liverpool as well as for me.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me achieve so much, including my wonderful wife and my student Lynne Murphy, who nominated me for the award.”
Mr Ngan was nominated for a BCA by his student, Lynne Murphy, who said: “I’m thrilled to bits that he has been given a BCA. Thousands of lives have been transformed by his Tai Chi and his students teach in hospitals, health centres, at Age UK, sports centres, homeless charities and church halls across the northwest, Spain and America.
“His humble attitude, drive and spirit cannot be questioned. His unique qualities and commitment to Liverpool have benefitted and inspired people beyond the boundaries of the UK. His dedication to the See Yep has helped build a rich and supportive community of people who know each other and lend a hand when it is needed.”